Military News

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Face of Defense: NFL Player Shares His Army Story

By Lee Elder
Nashville Recruiting Battalion

NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 3, 2013 – Before starting his second season in the National Football League, Army Reserve 1st Lt. Collin Mooney embarked on a two-week tour of area schools to support Army recruiting.


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Army Reserve 1st Lt. Collin Mooney, a fullback for the Tennessee Titans, arm-wrestles with Tennessee high school senior Ladarian Allison. U.S. Army photo by Lee Elder
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Tennessee Titans fullback visited 13 high schools across western Kentucky and middle Tennessee during his annual training period.

Encountering Titans fans at each stop, Mooney said he was amazed at their enthusiasm despite the team's 6-10 record in 2012.

"There are a lot of Titans fans in the middle Tennessee area who like to see somebody from the team and be a part of it," Mooney said. "It was good to be able to spend time with them and see the support Titans are getting from them."

Mooney, 27, signed with the Titans in May. Shortly afterward, he was released from his active-duty commitment after serving three years as a field artillery officer at Fort Sill, Okla., and he moved into the Army Reserve.

Going to camp as a free agent, Mooney impressed Titans coaches with his determination and work ethic. While he failed to make the team's 53-man roster, he was brought back as a member of the team's practice squad, where he spent the first three months of the season.

Wearing No. 42, he saw action late in the season in two games, carrying the ball five times in the team's season finale against Jacksonville.

It was his first time playing football since his days at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he is the school's all-time single-season rushing leader. He ground out more than 1,300 yards his senior season in 2008.

This off-season, he's working hard to expand his role with the Titans in 2013. Just before the team's organized workouts began, he donned the Army uniform to help local recruiters. His appearances varied from table setups in high school cafeterias to auditorium presentations.

He fielded questions from groups and individuals about football and the Army, and he posed for pictures with students.

"I most enjoyed getting to meet with the students and hang out with them," Mooney said. "Just seeing the level of service that these students exhibit is great, they're really interested in serving their country."

Mooney was a big hit with students, as well as teachers and administrators. They listened intently to his Army story of how he came from a suburban Texas high school to play football at West Point, served three years in the Army and then made an NFL roster.

"I think the students were very impressed with Collin," said Amie Chaney, a counselor at Franklin-Simpson High School in western Kentucky. "They were amazed at the fact that he was part of the military and played professional ball."

Mooney told students and faculty he made some serious choices in high school, including the choice of pursuing his dream of playing football while some classmates wanted to use drugs, drink alcohol and live a party lifestyle.

"He also talked about making good choices for himself and having to lose friends over it, and that is a sad reality for a lot of people," Chaney said. "The kids really enjoyed his positive message."

Students and teachers alike crowded in to get an autograph or take a picture with their camera phones.
"He was very put-together, and he talked about his high school career, college and pros," said Army Capt. William Sharpe, who commands the Clarksville, Tenn., Recruiting Company. "He was somebody they could relate to."

A soft-spoken man, Mooney talked about his football career from high school to the NFL. However, many were impressed when he spoke about his military career, spent mostly as an executive officer for a Fort Sill training battery.

Mooney talked about working out an hour on his own before doing physical training with his unit. At the end of the duty day, he said, he would work out even more hours, trying to keep his football skills sharp.

"I'll never forget a chaplain at West Point telling me, 'Work while you wait,'" Mooney said. "It was kind of my motto."

After two years, Mooney tried to get noticed by an NFL team, but the leaguewide lockout got in the way.
"I wasn't sure if I should give it another try," Mooney told a high school audience. "My family and friends kept telling me to take one more shot."

Mooney did well at a scouting combine held at the University of Oklahoma. His performance garnered the interest of four NFL teams, and he signed with the Titans after a tryout in Nashville.

Sharpe said young people were drawn to his story of service and perseverance. Mooney's quiet confidence and boyish charm were a hit.

"I think it carries a lot more weight coming from a pro athlete," Sharpe said. "He's put in that dedication and knows what it takes to get to that level. He struggled in high school with some things, and he knows where they are coming from and can relate to the kids."

At school appearances in the Clarksville area, Sharpe ensured his future soldiers were called to the front at the end of Mooney's presentation. They were given exposure in front of their fellow students and got to be the first photographed with the Titans player.

One of Mooney's most memorable experiences was traveling to Bowling Green High School, where he not only shared Army opportunities, but also presented an Army All-American nomination to Nacarius Fant, a three-year starter at wide receiver.

"It was great being able to present that to Nacarius," Mooney said. "It was special for him, and it was special for me, too."

Fant said he was also honored to have Mooney make his presentation. He met Mooney and Army recruiters at the door as they arrived on campus, and he thanked them for coming.

"It was really quite a surprise," Fant said. "It's not everybody who has an NFL player come to his school to make a presentation to him."

There were other surprises along the way. At Lebanon High School in Tennessee, Mooney was challenged to an arm-wrestling match by senior Ladarian Allison.

"I saw his arms," Allison said. "He's big, and I wanted to test my strength."

Mooney quickly triumphed. They shook hands and Allison returned to his seat in the cafeteria.

Mooney's final recruiting appearance came April 20, when he swore in a group of future soldiers during a break in the action at Clarksville's Rivers and Spires Festival.

"A lot of [future soldiers] wanted to come in and be sworn in by Lieutenant Mooney," Sharpe said. "They didn't know before they had seen him in their school."

Mooney said he was just glad to be able to help. While he did sometimes have to field a bizarre query during the question-and-answer sessions that followed his presentations, he added, enjoyed his time with recruiters.
"It was good to have that open forum," Mooney said. "It's not often they get to talk to an NFL player and somebody in the Army. It went really well, and it was all positive."

Joint forces simulate airfield seizure

by Airman 1st Class Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


5/3/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Dyess B-1Bs and C-130Js made their presence known April 25, 2013, over Winston Field Airport in Snyder, Texas, as part of a joint force integration exercise coordinated by the 77th Weapons Squadron here.

The first-of-its-kind exercise combined Dyess B-1s and C-130s, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and F/A-18 Hornets from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, working together to clear and take an enemy-controlled airfield.

Aircraft were targeted by simulated tracking radar, anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles from the Snyder Electronic Scoring Site, adding to the realism of the scenario.

After B-1s from the 9th Bomb Squadron and 77th Weapons Squadron destroyed known anti-aircraft artillery in the area, simulated C-17 Globemasters dropped heavy machinery and pallets of equipment for incoming troops.

"We are trying to mirror the way we train to the way we would actually fight a war," said Maj. Timothy Griffith, 77th Weapons Squadron. "B-1s and C-130s will never go to war alone, so we are trying to match capabilities of different assets to make it as realistic as possible."

Moments after equipment was on the ground, a 12-ship formation of C-130s from Dyess flew overhead, simulating a drop of 720 Army Rangers and Air Force JTACs.

"We are learning how the different aircraft operate and can work together," said Capt. J Meinhard, 9th Bomb Squadron. "It is important for us to know each other's capabilities so we can support one another's missions."

From the ground, JTACs communicated with B-1s to eliminate remaining threats on the ground, allowing the ranger regiment to sweep and claim the airfield.

"Our job is to control air strikes and put bombs on target to kill bad guys," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Meek, 66th Weapons Squadron. "I have the best job in the Air Force. I get to keep my brothers and sisters safe and out of harms way, bringing strength and honor to our community."

F/A-18 Hornets arrived to aid in close air support, relieving the bombers.

The intent of the mission was to establish and maintain air superiority, eliminate simulated surface-to-air threats, successfully airdrop a ranger regiment onto the airfield, establish communications with ground force commanders and eliminate enemy ground forces.

"This training is critical for the future of the Air Force because in the future, when we are serving alongside other branches and countries, we will know each others capabilities and we can work better together," Meinhard said.

DOD Counters Internet Posts on Religion Issue

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013 – Internet posts making the rounds claiming that the Defense Department will court-martial service members who espouse Christianity are not true, a Pentagon spokesman said today.
“The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the military services to observe the tenets of their respective religions and respects, [and supports by its policy] the rights of others to their own religious beliefs, including the right to hold no beliefs,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a written statement on the issue.

“The department does not endorse any one religion or religious organization, and provides free access of religion for all members of the military services,” he added.

Internet posts are attributing a statement that superior officers who try to convert those under their command should face court-martial to Mikey Weinstein, president of the Albuquerque, N.M.-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and are identifying him as a Pentagon advisor, Christensen noted.

“Mr. Weinstein is not part of any DOD advisory group or committee, nor is he a consultant to the Defense Department regarding religious matters,” Christensen said. “Mr. Weinstein requested, and was granted, a meeting at the Pentagon April 23, with the Air Force judge advocate general and others, to include the deputy chief of chaplains, to express his concerns of religious issues in the military.”

Some bloggers have taken sections of Air Force Instruction 1-1 “Air Force Standards” -- specifically, the section titled “Government Neutrality Regarding Religion” -- out of context in supporting their take, Christensen said.

“Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion,” the instruction states.

Air Force leaders at all levels “must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.
Commanders or supervisors who engage in such behavior may cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity. The potential result is a degradation of the unit’s morale, good order, and discipline,” the instruction goes on to say.

The instruction further says all airmen “are able to choose to practice their particular religion, or subscribe to no religious belief at all.” It tells airmen to practice their own beliefs while respecting differing viewpoints.
The right to practice religious beliefs does not excuse airmen from complying with directives, instructions and lawful orders, the instruction says.

It adds that airmen “must ensure that in exercising their right of religious free expression, they do not degrade morale, good order, and discipline in the Air Force or degrade the trust and confidence that the public has in the United States Air Force.”

Banner Shoot Prepares Pilots for Combat

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs


5/2/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- F-22 pilots from the 302nd, 525th and 90th fighter squadrons tested their aim during a banner shoot April 22 to 25.

Banner shoots are a way for pilots to be comfortable in air-to-air combat. Pilots demonstrate the effectiveness of doing exercises like these by practicing their aim in the air.

"A banner shoot is a system that we use to increase pilot proficiency," said Air Force Master Sgt. Richie Bill, weapons section chief from the 90th Fighter Squadron.

A banner is hooked up to a Cessna 441 Conquest II aircraft that travels through the air at about 288 miles per hour. To keep the pilot and plane safe, the banner is towed about 2,000 feet away.

"Essentially, one aircraft will tow a long banner with a target behind it and the F-22 pilot will come in and shoot at it," Bill said.

The pilots inside the F-22s take necessary precautions not to shoot towards the aircraft towing the banner. The same safety precautions used in a gun range apply in the air. Pilots never aim at anything they don't intend shoot.

"The [3rd] Operations Squadron schedules the banner shoot, and the weapons flight does the actual loading process to prepare the aircraft for the mission," Bill said.

Ammunition loaders, weapons loaders and pilots are all part of the training to ensure proper knowledge of what to do in a combat situation.

Ammunition loaders place practice rounds inside a M61 Vulcan cannon that shoots 20-millimeter rounds at 100 rounds per second. Pilots need to know how to fire in a combat situation and this trains them to be as accurate as possible without getting close to the banner while in flight.

Pilots are always preparing to deploy, and banner shoots are one of many trainings they do.

"These are upgrades that are vital to the pilots so that when they do go into combat they know how to employ that weapon and use it accurately," Bill said.

The 302nd, 525th and 90th fighter squadrons will come together and prepare to train in the exercises so they all have the necessary requirements and skill levels.

"I always have confidence in the pilots to do their job, and I know they take their job very seriously just like we do," Bill said.

At the end of the day, pilots and weapons loaders are trained to be prepared to be in a combat situation at any time and never think twice about how to do their job.

DOD Officials Continue to Study Options in Syria

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013 – Pentagon officials followed up today on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s statement yesterday that the United States is looking at arming the Syrian opposition, saying it is important to refine options as the situation on the ground changes.

In a meeting with reporters, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little stressed that the situation in Syria is extremely complicated, noting that the opposition contains jihadists as well as a great number of moderate elements.

“This administration has been focused squarely on Syria for a long time,” he said. The U.S. government has been using diplomatic and economic levers to try and get Syrian president Bashar Assad to step down, and Pentagon and U.S. Central Command officials have been updating military options in case President Barack Obama needs them.

Military options are part of the puzzle that is Syria, but only part, Little said. The U.S. engagement in humanitarian operations in the nation, the diplomatic outreach to other nations in the region and economic sanctions against the government telegraph U.S. views of the conflict.

Those views are clear, Little said. “Assad must go,” he added. “We hope that the Syrian people can determine their own future and that there is a responsible transition to a new Syria.”

The United States and allies also must also think of post-Assad Syria, Little said, noting that once Assad leaves power, American and international partners have to do what is best in a very unstable part of the world.

The U.S. military is supporting the State Department in the humanitarian assistance mission to the people of Syria. U.S. military transport planes delivered packaged meals to countries bordering Syria for delivery to those in need inside the country. Other nonlethal aid being delivered to the opposition includes body armor and night-vision goggles.

“We’re all clear-eyed about the challenges in this crisis, and it may not end overnight,” Little said. “But if we can push this to a place where the violence is drawn down, there is an exit for Assad and there is a way to drive a political solution for the Syrian people themselves, that would be ideal.”

Work Remains as Balkans Progress, Stavridis Says

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013 – It’s not yet time to take an eye off the Balkans, the top U.S. military commander in Europe wrote in a blog post today.

“It would be na├»ve to believe that all is suddenly sweetness and light in the Balkans,” wrote Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, the commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe. “And yet … there seems to be a genuine movement to the future and away from the past.”

The admiral noted he’s made a dozen trips to Kosovo during fours years in command, and the NATO force there -- which at its height in the 1990s numbered 50,000 -- has dropped since 2009 from 15,000 to 5,000.
Stavridis credited the U.N. Security Council, the European Union and NATO with setting the current conditions, under which “the volatile national actors have decided that instead of reaching for their rifles to resolve a dispute, they will reach for a telephone to call Brussels and initiate a dialog -- generally under the auspices of the European Union.”

Stavridis noted that under an agreement signed April 19 in Brussels, Serbia and Kosovo have committed to a 15-point plan to resolve tensions in northern Kosovo. NATO is committed to supporting the plan’s implementation, he added.

“Belgrade and Pristina have made clear that as they work for the implementation of the agreement, they see NATO as the guarantor of peace and security for all the people of Kosovo,” he said.

The next task is to negotiate “an implementing agreement dealing with complex issues of sovereignty, border management, the status of Serbian ethnics in northern Kosovo, authorities of Kosovo, and many other variables,” the admiral said. “Next week the two prime ministers will meet to continue the hard work.”

Stavridis, who is retiring and will be succeeded by Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, said hard work remains in ensuring that war and violence don’t return to the Balkans.

“I'm proud of the role of NATO in keeping the peace in the Balkans,” he said. “I applaud the distance the region has come from the chaos and violence of the previous decade. But now is not the time to slack off, rather it is the time to maintain the intensity of our effort to make sure this one turns out well.”

Ceremony Honors Fallen Military Medical Personnel

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., May 3, 2013 – Military medical professionals who made the ultimate sacrifice in the last decade of war were the best the nation had to offer for their selflessness in the name of freedom, the Pentagon’s top health care official said here today.


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Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, delivers keynote remarks during a remembrance ceremony for 300 fallen military medical personnel at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, May 3, 2013. The fallen medical professionals served during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. They were doctors, nurses, Army medics and Navy corpsmen, among other medical professionals. DOD photo by Terri Moon Cronk
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In keynote remarks at the fifth remembrance ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery dedicated to fallen U.S. medical personnel laid to rest there, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, thanked the families and friends of the fallen for their sacrifices.

“Friends and families, I thank you for your sacrifice and suffering you’ve endured over the years,” he said. “Their acts of heroism in life and death [are] beyond measure.”

Today’s ceremony, conducted at the cemetery’s old amphitheater, honored more than 300 fallen military medical personnel who served during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. They were doctors, nurses, Army medics and Navy corpsmen among others, Woodson said.

They chose to serve and were willing to give that last full measure of devotion for their fellow service members, Woodson said.

“They willingly put themselves in harm’s way when it mattered the most,” he added.
Woodson noted the ceremony was not rooted in grief alone.

“Together today, we rededicate ourselves to the work that your loved one so nobly advanced,” he said.
The willingness to help others showed through in the events surrounding the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, Woodson said, pointing out that numerous first responders were current and former military medical personnel who used their life-saving military skills to help the injured.

“When [the injured] came to the hospitals, they encountered doctors, nurses and medics who brought those skills home with them from the battlefield,” Woodson said. “And I know the spirit of your love was there with them. From Iraq to Afghanistan to Boston, the long arc of dedicated military medical professionals remains a force of unequaled good in the world.”

Woodson said the sacrifices of military medical professionals and their families will never be forgotten.
“[Those] sacrifices meant so much,” he said. “I promise you on behalf of the nation that we will always remember the valor of their military medical service.”

B-52 pilot aims for pilot physician

by Staff Sgt. Katherine Holt
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


5/3/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- He is a pilot on the B-52H Stratofortress and a flight surgeon.

He is Capt. Dave Prakash; and, in less than two months, hopes to become a pilot physician. It's a title held by less than 12 Air Force pilots.

"In the past 20 years of military service I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most brilliant, patriotic, and talented people the United States has to offer," said Col. Blake Lollis, 2nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander. "Capt. Dave Prakash is one of those people."

Born in India, Prakash traveled to the U.S. with his parents in 1977 and grew up in New York.

"I, like any other pilot in the Air Force, had a certain fascination with aviation from the time I was 5," said Prakash. "But being from an immigrant family where education is paramount, I went through school I happened to be good in science so I took the medicine route."

It wasn't until he was studying chemistry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, when he was approached by a Marine recruiter that he was informed he could become a pilot.

"At this time, I was surrounded by doctors and engineers," said Prakash. "I never knew how to become a pilot."

But because of an accident his junior year, Prakash was disqualified and took the route to medical school.

"But the bug never left me," he said. "I ended up graduating a semester early and started on my private pilot license while I was waiting for medical school."

Between his third and fourth year of medical school, Prakash took a two-year sabbatical and had a research fellowship at the National Institute of Health campus in Washington D.C., where he worked for the Food and Drug Administration. This is where he learned about pilot physician program.

"I contacted a B-52 pilot physician back in 1999," he said. "He explained to me that the AF has a program where they can utilize a pilot who is also a flight surgeon in unique roles and responsibilities within the AF. It sounded like a great opportunity to meld two exciting career fields and serve my country at the same time."

Prakash's biggest hurdle would be getting into the Air Force under the age limit to become a pilot.

He graduated medical school and went on to do an internship. During his internship he was able to do a stint at NASA.

"Being at NASA just reinforced my interest in aviation medicine and flying in general," said Prakash.

After the completion of his internship, Prakash applied to officer training school.

"I knew at this point most pilot physicians come in as pilots, and after their commitment, go on to become flight surgeons; or they come in as flight surgeons, and after their commitment, are then selected for pilot training," he said.

Prakash was neither of these.

"My only option was to commission as a line officer as a 30-year-old second lieutenant who just happened to have an M.D. degree," he said. "And hope to eventually transition over to the Medical Corps as a flight surgeon and become a pilot physician."

As far as he knows, Prakash is only the second person to ever do this in the Air Force. The last pilot physician to go this route was Maj. Tom Koritz in the 1980s.

"I heard about him," he said. "I was trying to follow the path he pioneered back then."

He was accepted into OTS and started pilot training a month before his 30th birthday.

During training, he needed to stay current in medicine. Prakash had the opportunity to practice medicine in his spare time by helping out the Red Cross during events like Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Gustav. He also worked in downtown Shreveport at Pool of Siloam, a non-profit, church-affiliated medical program which provides medical services for the indigent and non-insured.

"When I am [at Pool of Siloam], I see people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and diabetes," he said. "So I am managing blood pressure medication, insulin. It's very different from what you see in flight medicine, but certainly challenging enough to keep me current in medicine."

In the summer of 2011, after four years of flying as a B-52 pilot, the 2nd Operations Group allowed him to take a brief leave of absence to attend a six-week class in aerospace medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he attended the Aerospace Medicine Primary course. In the summer of 2012, Prakash was given the opportunity to attend a five-month refresher training in medicine at the 81st Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. He worked in several different departments from emergency, internal and aerospace medicine to dermatology and cardiology.

"I have had some great support from my wing commander and my operations group commander, Col. Michael Adderley, Col. Paul Fortunato, 2nd MDG Group commander. They recognized the benefits to this program right away," Prakash said. "It's that kind of leadership we need, where leaders are willing to make a sacrifice and invest in the pilot-physician program by sharing an asset between groups, in order to reap the larger benefits for the wing and B-52 community."

Prakash is now working in the flight medicine department in the 2nd Medical Group. He is also flying, as a fully qualified pilot, at least two times a month in the B-52. Being a pilot gives him a unique capability when responding to things like in-flight emergencies.

"Being a pilot helps me as a flight surgeon," said Prakash. "When I respond to an IFE, especially for a physiological incident, I know the checklists these guys are running in the air. Understanding what happened in the jet and what the crew was doing helps me arrive at an aeromedical disposition. Plus I'm still a crew dog. I've deployed with these guys and been through inspections. I try to take care of them like family."

Prakash is currently working on ground-breaking projects to advance the medical capabilities here, and is excited to see what his future as a pilot physician holds.

"I'm hoping to justify my leadership's investment with the upcoming projects of the medical group," he said. "

Prakash's leadership in the medical group is excited to have him on board.

"He is an extremely talented, brilliant, and driven young patriot and officer of whom I am very proud," said Lollis. "He is a rare individual who has mastered two fields-pilot and physician, and the Air Force will be better because of him. He is a future Air Force senior leader and we are truly fortunate to have such an outstanding, patriotic, young American and Airman such as him at Barksdale."

Additional reporting by Col. Blake Lollis.

59th MDW mental health tech named AETC outstanding Airman

by Nathan Simmons
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- A mental health technician from the 59th Mental Health Squadron has established herself as one of Air Education and Training Command's finest service members.

Senior Airman Casey Anderson was named one of the command's outstanding enlisted Airmen of the year for 2013. The accolade comes on the heels of other recognition, including Anderson's selection as the AETC Mental Health Airman of the Year, and the 59th Medical Wing Airman of the Year.

"We congratulate all of these individuals for their incredible commitment and wish them the best of luck at Air Force level competition," said AETC Commander Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. in a message to the command. "In addition, we greatly appreciate those supervisors and commanders who invested the time and effort to recognize all of their superior performers."

Anderson said her passion for caring for Airmen is what motivates her to strive for excellence.

"My inspiration and motivation is sparked by working with the Air Force's most prized and priceless assets - the members," Anderson said. "Being able to carry on the heritage and tradition of the Air Force culture as a part of the one percent of Americans who get to put on this uniform fills me with exceptional pride."

Among countless other accomplishments, Anderson was hand-picked by the Air Force Medical Operations Agency as a brain study site officer, in a program that is saving the Defense Department an estimated $66 million.

"We are proud of Senior Airman Casey Anderson and we are fortunate to have her as part of the 59th Medical Wing family. She exemplifies the 'Outstanding Airman' and is consistently striving to excel in all aspects of her life," said Lt. Col. Mitzi Thomas-Lawson, commander, 59th Mental Health Squadron.

"This is evident in her excellent work performance as a mental health technician in Neuropsychology, and with her selection as the 2012 Air Force Medical Service's mental health technician of the year," Thomas-Lawson added.

Her selection as one of AETC's outstanding Airmen catapults her to the next level of completion at Air Force.

"This award does not only represent me, but all of those around me - my leadership, mentors, peers and subordinates," Anderson said. "I would not have been nominated for this award if not for their guidance and the opportunities they afforded me in the exploration of my passion in mental health and social work."

Civilian, military leaders meet for annual National Security Forum

Sspecial Courtesy of
Air War College


5/3/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- The theme of this year's National Security Forum, which begins Tuesday, is "Rebalancing Towards the Asia-Pacific and Beyond: Implications for U.S. Grand Strategy."

According to Dr. Mark Conversino, dean of Air War College, "The Defense Strategic Guidance issued in January 2012 notes that our country is at a strategic turning point after a decade of war. While the guidance calls for a rebalancing of our military focus toward the vast Asia-Pacific region, it also calls for a continued emphasis on U.S. and allied presence in, and support of, allies and partners in the Middle East. The guidance, therefore, represents a forward-looking policy change, but especially in the current fiscal climate, this 'pivot' to the Pacific is a topic at the forefront of discussion at the Air War College as well as in Washington, D.C., Europe, Africa and even Asia itself."

The annual gathering of business leaders, state and local government officials and military leaders will spend three days engaged in a series of lectures and seminars focusing on the challenges facing the nation and the Air Force's role in supporting current and future strategies, international relationships and leadership in light of the new national guidance.

Air War College officials said that the fact that this year the school is conducting the Secretary of the Air Force's National Security Forum is in itself a reflection of how much importance the secretary places on the role of this capstone event. Since the implementation of U.S. federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, at the beginning of March, Air Force senior leadership has been working to ensure that the Air Force is able to meet its national security obligations now and into the future.

As the long-term consequences of shrinking budgets become a reality, the nation will need to make choices on fiscal priorities. In the midst of this backdrop, AWC officials said the secretary wanted to continue to foster the dialogue with experts outside of the federal government.

The insights gained through the sharing of information between the two groups can assist the nation to better adapt to future challenges as well as educate the generation of senior leaders who will be called on to make many of the difficult fiscal decisions.

Leaders at all levels of government are putting a premium on knowledge exchange to improve decision making and better utilize scarce resources, AWC officials said. In 1954, the Air Force held the first National Security Forum. As the Air Force grew as an independent service, the NSF provided a venue in which civilian leaders, private and public, could gain greater insight into issues impacting national security and the Air Force's unique role in securing peace.

However, the NSF quickly proved itself as an excellent example of a reciprocal civil-military intellectual exchange. The dialogue fostered at the NSF reconnects the senior and future senior leaders to the citizens they serve, and in turn, important relationships are built. This proved to be an effective method to increase the Air War College students' awareness of the larger range of challenges facing the nation as well as assisting them to better understand the resources available outside normal military channels.

"Given the nature of the Defense Strategic Guidance and fiscal challenges facing our nation, it is increasingly important that we maintain a strong interface with our citizenry, not less," said Maj. Gen. Scott Hanson, Air War College commandant.

Participants in the NSF will have the opportunity to explore the complicated political, military and leadership challenges arising from the "pivot" to Asia and the Pacific. In particular, the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance emphasizes the importance of military-to-military partnerships with other nations as a means of maximizing resources and promoting peace. By building more effective partnerships and capacity in the Middle East and Africa, in conjunction with enduring partnerships such as NATO, the U.S. is able to shift focus to Asia while still ensuring security in Europe, Southwest Asia and Africa.

The Asia-Pacific region is facing the possibility of conflict as rising economic power and national interests collide. The ongoing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan-China relations, and multiparty disputes of oil, gas, and fishing rights in the South China Sea are just some of many potential trigger points for conflict. The U.S. has sought to foster bilateral and multilateral relationships within the region to build avenues for dialogue and rebalance power differentials in hopes of resolving disputes and relieve tension.

"As the Air Force and nation rebalances its strategy toward Asia under fiscal constraints, it will rely on support and input from its external partners to find cooperative and innovative solutions to today's ever changing security challenges," said Dr. Christopher Hemmer, chair of AWC's Department of International Security Studies.

The Air Force will make this shift to the Pacific as it also seeks to recapitalize equipment and personnel strained by decades of war and engagement. To do this, the Air War College will start by educating innovative leaders who are prepared to seek unique and effective solutions to problems yet to be faced. The cooperation and information sharing fostered through the NSF is one of many methods of utilizing education to achieve efficiencies and improved productivity.

National Guard Vice Chief Visits Oregon

by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel
142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2013 - PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- With a brief two-day visit to the Pacific Northwest, Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, toured the Portland Air National Guard Base and attended a workshop for the Oregon State Partnership Program here in Portland, Ore.

Gen. Lengyel took time to meet with the Airmen who call Oregon home, while receiving briefings on mission readiness from Oregon Air Guard leadership and later spoke before the Vietnam delegation in attendance for the Oregon State Partnership workshop, April 14-19.

"I can tell you that my father is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and this new partnership with Vietnam holds a special place for me," said Gen. Lengyel.

Following his speech, Gen. Lengyel presented a book of Americana imagery as a gift to Lt. Gen. Tran Quang Khue, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Vietnam People's Army, who headed the delegation of 14 high-ranking Vietnamese military officials to Oregon.

The State Partnership Program with Vietnam allows both countries to pursue shared priorities such as disaster assistance, trade, education, training, health and environmental protection.

Col. Rick Wedan, 142nd Fighter Wing commander, escorted Lengyel around the Portland Air National Guard Base to view the diversity of units operating on station. During the tour, he met with several Airmen who have recently returned from deployments and operations in Afghanistan, and Airmen who support the full-time alert mission.

According to Wedan, the training that our team has put into place has been tested and has led to several high-visibility intercepts in just the past three years.

The 142nd Fighter Wing is one of 13 aerospace control alert units in the United States. These elite units maintain fully-armed jets that are always prepared to respond for national security threats.

In January the 142nd Fighter Wing secured a new 50-year lease with the Port of Portland and the State of Oregon to safeguard the stability and long-range mission for the Oregon Air Guard.

A renewed emphasis on training and using the unique size and airspace of Oregon was also briefed to Gen. Lengyel, as Oregon Air National Guard Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven Gregg, highlighted the ongoing training that both the 142nd and 173rd Fighter Wings in Oregon carry out daily.

"Flying off the Oregon coast, we can do most of our training but we are looking at ways to expand our airspace so that the [173rd Fighter Wing] mission at Kinsley Field can grow as well," Gen. Gregg said.

The 173rd Fighter Wing's mission is training F-15 pilots for air-to-air combat.

Gen. Lengyel was briefed on how the Oregon Air National Guard can adapt to changes in future training mission requirements, as well as developing long-range plans to host new missions from the Portland region.

The 50-year lease extension in Portland will allow the base to grow along with its missions.

Maj. Brian Kroeller, an Intelligence Officer with the 142nd Fighter Wing, briefed Gen. Lengyel on a possible joint military training site, as a way to recapitalize building space that was once used by previous Air Force Reserve units in Oregon. The Air Force, as well as the Navy and other reserve units, would be able to utilize the facilities here at Portland, Kroeller said.

During the final part of the tour, Gen. Lengyel received a hands-on demonstration from Airmen of the 125th Special Tactics Squadron. He reviewed small vehicles that can be delivered airborne, a variety of communication equipment and other tools of the trade combat controllers use in the field.

According to Col. Michael Bieniewicz, Combat Operations Group Commander, the geography of the Pacific Northwest offers a wide-range of surroundings and special challenges, which allows 125th STS members the conditions needed for their demanding training and high levels of readiness.

"Just as our guys were coming back from operations overseas, they were quickly repacking to fly out and support Hurricane Sandy efforts," Col. Bieniewicz said.

To the laughter of many, Gen. Gregg pointed out to Gen. Lengyel the toughness of his combat controllers. "Some men fly machines, but some men are machines," he said.

Col. Wedan highlighted the variety of units and missions that the Oregon Air Guard performs daily and the growth potential at the Portland Air National Guard Base.

"I feel confident that the 142nd is grounded firmly here in the Pacific Northwest for another two generations. This, due to our mission, our location, our population, and our new 50-year lease with the Port of Portland," he said at the conclusion of the tour.

During his speech to the Vietnam delegation, Gen. Lengyel referenced how Oregon has always been one of his favorite places to visit and explore.

"Not only is this a unique place, but the units and missions here are just as unique," he said.

Warrior Games 2013: Personal stories of adversity turned into triumph

5/3/2013 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- Warrior Games, a spirited competition that pits wounded , ill or injured service members and veterans against their representative services continues into its fourth year as teams converge on Colorado Springs, Colo., beginning May 11.

This year, 50 Airmen or former Airmen will compete in individual and team sports that include archery, cycling, shooting, swimming, track and field, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
Over the next two weeks you'll get a close-up look at these warriors and the long road they've travelled from, in some cases death's door, to becoming some of the premier wounded athletes in the country.

There's the story of Katie Robinson, a former combat camera videographer who was shot in Iraq, and has worked through PTSD issues to compete in both swimming and track and field. Then there's Darrell Fisher, a former senior airman who was seemingly killed and pronounced dead in a random shooting and went through an intense near death experience before a long road to recovery.

Staff Sgt. Lara Ishikawa tells the story of her fight against invasive mammary carcinoma. "It's heart-wrenching," Ishikawa said. "Nobody expects to get cancer, and I had no family history of it. I've always been very healthy and active, and I tried to take care of myself. It was a shock..." She, along with two other cancer survivors, will compete this year.

Then there is the story of Master Sgt. Paul Horton, an EOD NCO, who says he was always the unlucky one growing up and has been blown up on six different occasions to prove it. He tells his story of overcoming the odds each time and somehow turning potential tragedy into a series of learning experiences. Maybe he's not so unlucky after all.

These stories and more will be highlighted over the next two weeks as warriors from all services come together to show their mettle and compete over six days and seven events. These stories will sometimes amaze you, sometimes pull at your heart strings, but in all cases show examples of turning tragedy into something much more positive.

Grand Forks AFB hosts FEMA flood supplies; officials thankful they weren't needed

by Tim Flack
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


5/3/2013 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Grand Forks Air Force Base served as a staging area for Federal Emergency Management Agency flood supplies that, thankfully, weren't needed this week.

About 10 semi-trailers full of supplies - everything from drinking water to blankets, food to baby wipes - arrived April 29 as the state braced to battle possible flooding, according to Air Force Col. Craig Trammell, the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for North Dakota.

Trammell was on the ground at Grand Forks AFB with Col. Carol Reece, the Region Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for FEMA Region VIII, which encompasses six states, including North Dakota.

Trammel said one of his duties is to help establish and maintain seamless relationships with Air Force officials at both Grand Forks AFB and Minot AFB so that the entire team can effectively respond to any sort of emergency.

He lauded 319th Air Base Wing personnel at Grand Forks AFB for providing world-class support of the mission.

Maj. John Volcheck, 319th Civil Engineer Squadron Operations Flight commander and Base Flood Fight officer-in-charge, and Norm Becker, Emergency Management & Readiness Flight chief, worked closely with Trammell and Reece this week as the water in the Red Valley rivers slowly crept up before finally cresting under expected highs Wednesday.

"Grand Forks has the history of being in this flood fight before," Trammell said. "The level of support out here is fantastic and finely honed. They've been very responsive from the very beginning."

Volcheck said preparations for any potential flood fight here start months in advance, when he validates what resources and assets Grand Forks can offer if needed. That way, he explained, Grand Forks can provide the plan to Trammel to say, "Here's what we're bringing to the fight this year."

Preparation is absolutely key to making this sort of mission a success, explained Becker. The visiting officers worked out of the Emergency Operations Center.

Trammell said all the work that Grand Forks puts into preparing for possible emergencies doesn't go unnoticed. He forwards the base's flood flight plan to his own higher headquarters so officials there know what sort of support, exactly, Grand Forks can provide.

"They do it fantastic here," Trammell said.

DOD Report: North Korea Still Critical U.S. Security Threat

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013 – North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities and development of long-range ballistic missile programs make it one of the most critical U.S. security challenges in Northeast Asia, according to the Defense Department’s first report to Congress on that nation’s military development.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered the report, titled, “Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2012,” to Congress today.

Required to be produced annually in classified and unclassified versions by Section 1236 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, the report is DOD’s authoritative statement on North Korea’s current and future military power, Pentagon officials said. It was developed by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The Korean People’s Army -- an umbrella organization composed of ground, air, naval, missile and special operations forces -- ranks in personnel numbers as the fourth-largest military in the world. The large, forward-deployed military can inflict great damage on South Korea despite serious resource shortfalls and aging hardware, the report said, but the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance deters North Korea from conducting attacks on its southern neighbor.

On a smaller scale, North Korea has used military provocation to achieve national goals, the report notes. In 2010, for example, it sank the South Korean naval vessel, Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean sailors, and shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians.

North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear technology and capabilities and its development of long-range ballistic missile programs -- including the December 2012 Taepodong-2 missile launch and the April 2012 display of a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile -- demonstrate North Korea’s threat to regional stability and U.S. national security, the report observed.

These programs, North Korea’s hostility toward South Korea, and the proliferation of items prohibited under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087 make North Korea a continued security challenge for the United States and its allies and partners, the report said.

The report assesses the following aspects of North Korean military power:

-- The security situation on the Korean Peninsula, goals and factors shaping North Korean security strategy, and military strategy;

-- Trends in North Korean security;

-- North Korea’s regional security objectives, including North Korean military capabilities, developments in North Korean military doctrine, and training;

-- North Korea’s proliferation activities; and

-- Other military security developments.

North Korea’s strategy under Kim Jong Il, who was supreme leader from 1994 until his death in 2011, focused on internal security, coercive diplomacy to compel acceptance of its diplomatic, economic and security interests, development of strategic military capabilities to deter external attack, and challenging South Korea and the U.S.-South Korean alliance, the report said.

“We anticipate these strategic goals will be consistent under North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un,” the report added.

On the topic of cyber capabilities, the report said North Korea probably has a military computer network operations capability. North Korea may view computer network operations as an appealing platform from which to collect intelligence, the report added, and the nation has been implicated since 2009 in cyberattacks ranging from computer network exploitation to distributed denial of service attacks.

In assessing North Korea’s security situation, the report said, “North Korea continues to fall behind the rising power of its regional neighbors, creating a widening military disparity and fueling its commitment to improving asymmetric and strategic deterrent capabilities as the primary guarantor of regime survival.”

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have grown as relations between North and South Korea worsen, the report noted. North Korea has portrayed South Korea and the United States as constant threats to North Korea’s sovereignty in a probable attempt to legitimize the Kim family rule, its draconian internal control mechanisms and existing strategies, the report said.

“The regime’s greatest security concern is opposition from within,” the report added, “and outside forces taking advantage of internal instability to topple the regime and achieve unification of the Korean Peninsula.”
North Korea seeks recognition as an equal and legitimate international player and recognized nuclear power and seeks to normalize its diplomatic relations with the Western world and pursue economic recovery and prosperity, the report said.

“[North Korea’s] rhetoric suggests the regime at this time is unlikely to pursue this second goal at the expense of the primary goal of pursuing its nuclear and missile capabilities,” the report added.
North Korea is attempting to upgrade its conventional weapons by reinforcing long-range artillery forces near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North Korea and South Korea, the report said, and has a substantial number of mobile ballistic missiles that could strike targets in South Korea and Japan.

“These advances in ballistic missile delivery systems, coupled with developments in nuclear technology, are in line with North Korea’s stated objectives to strike the U.S. homeland,” the report said.

Weapon sales are a critical source of foreign currency for North Korea, the report said, and it is unlikely to cease export activities.

North Korea also continues to invest in nuclear infrastructure. It conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013 and could conduct more tests at any time, the report said, violating its obligations under four U.N. Security Council resolutions and the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.

Global concern about North Korea’s proliferation activity continues to mount, leading some nations to take action. In June 2011, for example, a vessel bound for Burma, suspected of carrying military-related cargo, returned to North Korea after refusing a U.S. Navy inspection request.

In February 2010, South Africa seized North Korean-origin spare tank parts destined for the Republic of Congo. In December 2009, Thai authorities impounded the cargo of a chartered plane containing about 35 metric tons of North Korean weapons including artillery rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and surface-to-air missiles. In October of that year, South Korea seized North Korean-origin chemical-warfare protective suits destined for Syria.

“The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korea’s continued provocations and steadfast in commitments to allies in the region, including the security provided by extended deterrence commitments through the nuclear umbrella and conventional forces,” the report said.

Institute Chooses DOD Imagery for Cemetery Plaza Project

By Lawrence A. Sichter
Defense Media Activity - Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif., May 2, 2013 – Five pictures taken by Defense Department photographers have been selected to be a part of the Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Fla.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Sailors acting as flag bearers bow their heads during a prayer at a burial-at-sea ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln while underway in the Pacific Ocean, Aug. 19, 2007. The Lincoln conducted the solemn and sacred tradition of burial at sea for 11 former service members during its transit to its homeport of Everett, Wash. This image is among five Defense Department photos chosen to be part of the Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Fla. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Evans
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The images competed with the work of some of the finest, award-winning photographers in the world to get their shots of the U.S. military included in the $2 million art portion of the Patriot Plaza project, officials at the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center in in Riverside, Calif., said.

“It’s truly an honor to have DOD imagery displayed in a permanent exhibit alongside Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures,” said Gregg Porter, DIMOC director.

The Patterson Foundation in Sarasota is funding the $10 million project to build Patriot Plaza, which will be donated to the Veterans Affairs Department’s National Cemetery Administration. Patriot Plaza will be dedicated in spring 2014 and will be a gathering point for patriotic events in Sarasota.

Of the thousands of pictures submitted, 266 were DOD photos gathered by Steve McGill, multimedia manager at DIMOC, which is a field activity of the Defense Media Activity.

“I selected shots from the Defense Visual Information Records Center’s archives,” McGill said. “We’re thrilled to get the news that five of our photos made the final cut.”

The five DOD images were taken by military photographers on active duty, some of whom now are retired. The DOD photos will be among 49 included in the “Witness to Mission” exhibit that will be displayed on standing marble tablets at Patriot Plaza.

“Witness to Mission” will be one of two exhibit themes and will depict the mission of the U.S. military since the Civil War shown through the experiences of the men and women who made the history. The other theme will be “Service, Support, Sacrifice” and will capture personal stories of those who experienced military life.
McGill sent the DOD images he chose to Ken Irby, senior faculty member with the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school of journalism in Sarasota. The institute made the final selection, following strict criteria for photographic displays at national cemeteries. VA officials approved their choices.

SFS handlers paired with canine counterparts

by Airman 1st Class David Owsianka
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/3/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series on military working dogs.

What does it take to build a bond? What if the pair doesn't speak the same language?

Members of the 56th Security Forces Squadron are able to construct a strong relationship with military working dogs after being paired as teams.

The MWD program is the use of canine senses such as smell and sight to enhance operations in a deployed environment.

The handlers will go through a 55-day course broken into two sections: patrol and detection. The MWD's training is 120-days split into two 60-day blocks consisting of patrol and detective training, along with either narcotic or explosives training.

"The handlers learn how to give bite and obedience commands in the patrol phase," said Staff Sgt. Scott Emmick, 56th SFS MWD handler. "In the detection stage, the handlers learn how to work with the MWDs detecting specific odors in planes, warehouses, dormitories, vehicles and other areas."

For the MWDs, they learn the patrol and detection basics and practice them in various environments, such as warehouses, dorms, theaters, aircraft, offices and other areas. The dogs also work in environments ranging from open fields to tight quarters.

"In spite of the fact that we live in the age of exploding technological advancements, MWD teams are still the most accurate means of detecting explosives," said Staff Sgt. Steven Bruner, 56th SFS kennel master.

For Emmick and Staff Sgt. Nofo Lilo, 56th SFS MWD handler, being a handler is what they've wanted to do since joining the Air Force.

"It's a different step from the normal day-to-day law enforcement in our career field," Lilo said. "Working at the kennels, we are dealing with an animal we don't fully comprehend, but we have to complete certain tasks successfully. I hope working with the dogs will give me a new perspective on my military career."

After completing training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, both handlers were paired with MWDs shortly after returning to Luke: Emmick with MWD Roy and Lilo with MWD Cito.

No one knows how long it will take for the bond to form between the handler and MWD.

"It's up to the handler to put their full effort into the dog to receive the best outcome as a team," said Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson, 56th SFS MWD handler. "The handler needs to know the strengths and weaknesses of the MWD in all environments."

For Emmick and MWD Roy, it took approximately 10 days to build their bond.

"It's going to take awhile to learn everything about him, but we have a great bond so far," Emmick said. "I'm looking forward to enhancing Roy as an MWD while improving our bond."

Lilo looks to gain more than just a career broadening experience from his time as a handler.

"I believe this will help improve my problem-solving skills because the MWD and I don't completely understand each other," he said. "There is a communication barrier and we have to break down that barrier, be able to finish the job downrange and come home safely."

AFGSC commander shares vision with SUPT graduates

by Airman 1st Class Charles Dickens
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2013 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command spoke to the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 13-08 Graduation April 26 at the Columbus Air Force Base Kaye Auditorium.

Lt. Gen. James Kowalski offered insight and vision for the new graduates, emphasizing the importance and the honor of their chosen profession, and the responsibility that comes with it.

"I want the clock to stop because I want you to savor this moment," Kowalski said. "This is special, and some of you are starting to get a taste of our tribal rituals--what we do as the United States Air Force."

The general stressed that with the increase of skills the new pilots are slowly learning about and enjoying, there comes a heavy load as well.

"After today everything is going to be different," Kowalski said. "After today your responsibilities and our expectations of you are going to be much greater."

"This world is now yours to help build and defend, and that's a big responsibility," he said.

The general also discussed the importance of AFGSC to the Air Force and the world as a whole.

"The soul of the Air Force is the ability to go long-range," Kowalski said. "That's what we do in Global Strike Command."

"We've got an independent Air Force because we saw the value in a long-range aviation service that could overcome terrestrial obstacles to reach an enemy," he added. "Today, when we overcome those obstacles and we reach somewhere globally, it can be with a helping hand to provide salvation or sustenance. It can also be with a sword, which Global Strike Command plays a role."

Kowalski continued speaking about the significance AFGSC has in keeping the United States as powerful and peaceful as it is.

"I believe what I heard a Marine Corps general say years ago--'Quality of life is a working rifle,'" he said. "We've got to have the right weapon systems and their sustainment in order to continue to ensure the sovereignty of this nation."

The general shared some key advice once given to him as a young officer, not only to help the new pilots, but also those they will one day influence.

"The biggest lesson I learned was from a flight commander when I was a junior captain," he said. "The bottom-line lesson was, 'Don't complain about anything, ever. Either fix it or forget it.'"

AF, Navy, Coast Guard, GovGuam participate in joint training

by Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
36th Wing Public Affairs


5/1/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- First responders from both Guam's military installations and community agencies participated in water rescue training near Sirena Beach here, April 25, 2013.

The five agencies, including the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency services, Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam, Guam Fire Department and Guam Police Department, worked together to rescue simulated victims from the ocean to train on effectively responding to real-world situations. Each agency conducts this training annually, but joined together for this scenario to get accustomed to each other's equipment, personnel, capabilities and processes.

"This unique scenario enabled us to successfully mitigate water rescue emergencies with our fellow first responders to protect Guam's Northern region," said Master Sgt. Crispin Pacificar, 36th CES Fire and Emergency Services operations assistant fire chief.

After receiving qualification in water rescue, the first responders must continue annual training in order to keep their certifications valid.

"I ensure everyone is proficient with their training," said Fire Capt. Jason Crandall, 36th CES Fire and Emergency Services water rescue team leader. "These joint-training scenarios help us identify and solve challenges in a safer, controlled training environment so that we can be prepared for what we may encounter during a real joint-agency emergency."

Water rescue certification requires first responders to show competent swimming skills, abilities in operating assigned water craft, understanding advanced life rescue techniques, effectiveness in various weather conditions and safety practices on scene.

"The training consisted of practicing the basic skill sets needed to accomplish a successful water rescue," said Crandall. "During this training we try to closely simulate the environment we have to face during a real emergency."

The training also served as an opportunity for each department to share operational knowledge and experiences, and provided a chance for first responders to improve their water rescue capabilities, both as individual services and as a joint-service effort.

Hickam recognizes Key Spouses

by Rebecca Whitecotton

5/1/2013 - Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HAWAII  -- A group of unsung heroes were serenaded with appreciation on April 25 at the Key Spouse Appreciation Dinner held at the Tradewinds Enlisted Club. More than 120 Key Spouses and Key Spouse Mentors were recognized and praised for their support of military families and the Air Force squadrons their spouses serve.

"The unsung heroes of our military and our Air Force are our families and our spouses," said Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, commander of Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at the appreciation dinner. He praised Key Spouses for their role in acting as a liaison between commanders and spouses as families face the many challenges of military life, including deployments, frequent moving, and emergencies.

The Key Spouse program, which is similar to the Navy's Ombudsman program, enhances mission readiness by facilitating the flow of communication between spouses, leadership and base agencies. The Key Spouses are volunteers who are appointed by the squadron commander to provide a framework for stability and family support by maintaining regular contact with family members, especially during times of deployment.

"In the two years I have been here I have seen a huge commitment on the part of the Key Spouses," said Col. Dann Carlson, deputy commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and host of the event. He called attention to the importance of the program and how it has helped Air Force families through rigorous training, deployed spouse events, supporting family members in emergencies, and even supporting other Air Force families who have been medically evacuated to Hawaii.

For more information on the Key Spouse program, or to find out who the Key Spouse for your squadron is, contact the Military Family Support Center or the squadron's First Sergeant.

Cold War radar sites an integral part of Alaska history

by Air Force Master Sgt. Mikal Canfield
11th Air Force Public Affairs


5/1/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- More than 200 people filled the Bureau of Land Management Campbell Creek Science Center April 17 for a free history lesson on Alaska's historic radar sites.

Karlene Leeper, an Air Force archaeologist with the 611th Air Support Group, spoke for more than an hour about the role Alaska played in protecting the skies of North America during the Cold War.

This speaking engagement was part of a robust effort to bring more attention to these historic sites, many of which have been decommissioned and are in the process of being demolished.

"Since the end of the Cold War and because of advances in technology, the Air Force has down-sized and demolished many obsolete facilities, some of which are significant because of their functions during the Cold War," Leeper said. "These sites are an important part of our heritage and our past."

The outreach effort serves two purposes: to educate Alaskans about an important part of the state's history and to allow the Air Force to move forward with environmental remediation and demolition projects.

"Many of the radar sites are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places so in order to move forward on demolishing them, agreements with the Alaska State Historic Preservation Office and other interested parties require that we take pictures, create drawings, and conduct public education in lieu of continuing to maintain the sites," she added.

The outreach efforts included an informational poster, provided to schools throughout the state.

The posters feature text, photos, and a map highlighting the sites and what life was like for the servicemembers and civilians who operated the sites, many of which were in remote locations. Additionally, the 611th ASG is designing an educational booklet to provide additional details to people interested in these sites.

"The Cold War's effects on Alaska's culture, economy and landscape are things that we live with today," Leeper said. "Outreach projects help people understand that our security, technology, living standards and society have roots in our past history."

According to Leeper, the National Historic Preservation Act requires the Air Force to consider the effects of its projects on historic properties, which includes buildings, districts, archaeological sites, and landscapes deemed important to history.

Many sites are still operational; the Air Force continues to operate and maintain 14 long-range radar sites throughout Alaska.

Due to the remote locations, posters and booklets are the only way most people will see the sites and get a glimpse of what life was like during the height of the Cold War.

"People are excited to learn about the history of these sites," she added. "We've received a lot of positive feedback regarding the posters we've sent to the schools.

"Lots of veterans and former employees of the radars and communications sites attended the presentation and there was some great discussion."

Financial Wingmanship

by Senior Airman Camilla Griffin
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/1/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZ.,  -- Members of the Desert Lightning Team have until May 17 to contribute to the Air Force Assistance Fund. The deadline has been extended to allow for more contributions.

AFAF supports four charities whose benefits are available only to those in the Air Force family - the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Village, Air Force Enlisted Village and the Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation.

"This program is very important, because if there is an Airman in need of financial aid, the funds are already there to assist them," said Senior Airman Danielle McLucas, 355 Comptroller Squadron financial analyst. "It isn't a matter of trying to gather money last minute."

AFAF is an Air Force-wide program, but every base is issued a certain amount of the funds raised each year. The amount raise by the Desert Lightening Team does not affect the funds the base receives, McLucas explained.

"For example, last year we raised about $141,000 and we were allotted over $200,000," McLucas said.

As of right now, DLT members have raised $68,000. The base wide goal is $123,000.

Those interested in contributing to the AFAF should contact their squadron
representative for more information.

Joint forces simulate airfield seizure

by Airman 1st Class Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Dyess B-1Bs and C-130Js made their presence known April 25, 2013, over Winston Field Airport in Snyder, Texas, as part of a joint force integration exercise coordinated by the 77th Weapons Squadron here.

The first-of-its-kind exercise combined Dyess B-1s and C-130s, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and F/A-18 Hornets from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, working together to clear and take an enemy-controlled airfield.

Aircraft were targeted by simulated tracking radar, anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles from the Snyder Electronic Scoring Site, adding to the realism of the scenario.

After B-1s from the 9th Bomb Squadron and 77th Weapons Squadron destroyed known anti-aircraft artillery in the area, simulated C-17 Globemasters dropped heavy machinery and pallets of equipment for incoming troops.

"We are trying to mirror the way we train to the way we would actually fight a war," said Maj. Timothy Griffith, 77th Weapons Squadron. "B-1s and C-130s will never go to war alone, so we are trying to match capabilities of different assets to make it as realistic as possible."

Moments after equipment was on the ground, a 12-ship formation of C-130s from Dyess flew overhead, simulating a drop of 720 Army Rangers and Air Force JTACs.

"We are learning how the different aircraft operate and can work together," said Capt. J Meinhard, 9th Bomb Squadron. "It is important for us to know each other's capabilities so we can support one another's missions."

From the ground, JTACs communicated with B-1s to eliminate remaining threats on the ground, allowing the ranger regiment to sweep and claim the airfield.

"Our job is to control air strikes and put bombs on target to kill bad guys," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Meek, 66th Weapons Squadron. "I have the best job in the Air Force. I get to keep my brothers and sisters safe and out of harms way, bringing strength and honor to our community."

F/A-18 Hornets arrived to aid in close air support, relieving the bombers.

The intent of the mission was to establish and maintain air superiority, eliminate simulated surface-to-air threats, successfully airdrop a ranger regiment onto the airfield, establish communications with ground force commanders and eliminate enemy ground forces.

"This training is critical for the future of the Air Force because in the future, when we are serving alongside other branches and countries, we will know each others capabilities and we can work better together," Meinhard said.

From take off to drop off: Antarctic medical evacuation in only 60 hours

by Capt. Kim Bender
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs


5/3/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- A C-17 Globemaster III crew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, together with Aeromedical Evacuation and Critical Care Air Transport Team Airmen, safely evacuated an ailing individual from McMurdo Station, Antarctica Apr. 22 after responding to a request from the National Science Foundation, the manager of the U.S. Antarctic Program,

"This mission was the perfect example of air mobility and global reach at its finest," said Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander. "A C-17 team composed of active duty and reserve aircrew members, maintenance, support personnel, and medical personnel from multiple units and locations, dropped everything they were doing, integrated a solid team, and rapidly deployed to Antarctica, the most isolated and remote location on the planet in the world's most extreme operating conditions."

Planning immediately began once NSF notified Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica of the possible medical emergency mission. The Air Force-led JTF-SFA is in charge of Operation Deep Freeze, which provides the Department of Defense's logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program.

On Apr. 18, it was determined the patient needed to be evacuated.

To determine the required medical support, the Pacific Air Forces Surgeon General's office, the 613th Air and Space Operations Center and the U.S. Transportation Command's Theater Patient Movement Requirements Center-Pacific offices coordinated with NSF's lead medical team on-scene at McMurdo Station. All agreed aeromedical evacuation and CCAT teams would be needed for the mission.

"Every person and organization involved in determining the medical requirements dropped what they were doing to support this mission to deliver the medical capabilities needed," said Lt. Col. Brendan Noone, JTF-SFA lead flight surgeon.

Several types of aircraft-both civilian and military--were considered for this mission, but the overall capability of the C-17 with its extended flight range and ability to operate at night with no airfield lighting, made it the optimal choice for the mission.

The C-17, assigned to the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and all the Airmen involved, departed and arrived in the staging area in Christchurch, New Zealand, Apr. 20. From there, the C-17 headed to McMurdo Station.

Keenan also praised the efforts of the ground staff employed by Lockheed Martin / ASC, NSF Colorado-based support contractor, for rapidly preparing to receive the aircraft.
"The airfield operation and ground teams at McMurdo Station completed the airfield preparations much quicker than expected, which included the preparation of an ice runway," said Keenan. "This airfield preparation was vital to safely landing and taking off in the harsh weather there."

McMurdo Station normally closes in early March, and no flight operations are scheduled until the start of the next austral summer scientific research season. The C-17 crew prepared to execute night-vision goggle operations, as it is normally utilized in a mid-winter operation, but due to this quick airfield preparation, the crew was able to exploit a narrow window of daylight.

After the C-17 safely landed at McMurdo Station, there was an exceptionally fast 35-minute ground time in which the patient was transferred to the aircraft. The patient received in-air medical care from the AE and CCAT crews aboard the C-17.

"The decision to execute this type of aeromedical evacuation is not taken lightly, as it represents a major investment in resources from the NSF and the DoD. In this case, however, the patient's life was in danger and this operation was the most viable course of action to preserve a human life, our most valuable resource," said Maj. Gen. Russ Handy, Commander of JTF-SFA. "While we talk a lot about the lengths we go to in order to save our service members injured in combat, this NSF-led, DoD-supported event demonstrates this commitment to our people is not just a part of our military culture--it's a part of being an American."

It took only 60 hours to complete the mission from take off in Washington to the final arrival of the patient in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"The mission was truly a Total Force, inter-agency mission planning and execution success. From NSF leadership in Washington, D.C., Air Force Reserve Command and Air Mobility Command air and medical crews, and contracted staff at McMurdo Station, to PACAF support from the 15th Wing based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam acting as a backup for the 304th EAS's aircraft, these mixed teams all worked together to support Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica and get the mission done," said Chief Master Sgt Connie Hoffman, JTF-SFA superintendent.

NSF has a presidential mandate to manage the U.S. Antarctic Program, through which it coordinates all U.S. scientific research on the southernmost continent and aboard vessels in the Southern Ocean and provides the logistical support to make possible the research.

The U.S. military is uniquely equipped to assist NSF in accomplishing its USAP mission. The U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and the Coast Guard provide specialized aircraft, ships and skilled crewmembers to ensure the safe delivery and passage of program personnel and cargo.

Operation Deep Freeze is the logistical support provided by the DoD to the USAP. This includes the coordination of strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical intra-theater airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling, and transportation requirements supporting the NSF.

RANS Airmen strive for self-sufficiency everywhere

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/1/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- The art of warfare and how it is waged has changed constantly throughout the course of history.

One squadron's mission is to employ those enemy tactics as training tools to better prepare Airmen and military personnel from across the branches of service.

"Our squadron provides world-class training threats in the Mountain Home Range Complex and around the world," said Master Sgt. Scott Groggett, 266th Range Squadron sagebrush threat director. "Our personnel provide a training environment for aircrews to hone their skills against simulated enemy assets and are capable of simulating a wide variety of them from multiple locations simultaneously."

By copying these enemy threats, Airmen provide a training environment unmatched throughout the country.

"Once we have all the information, we go out and simulate that specific type of warfare for the coalition forces that come here to train," said Senior Master Sgt. Allen Sapp, 266th RANS branch chief. "However, we constantly push to find other areas where we can assist the base as well.

"When we deploy a fighter squadron and maintenance unit, our guys are part of the planning and scheduling process," he continued. "In the winter when the heavy snows come, our guys volunteered to step up and assist in the snow removal of the flight line and housing areas as well."

As a tenant unit the squadron is self-sufficient and has their own maintenance, administration and communications sections.

"Relying on other agencies to solve our problems isn't how we do business here," said Sapp. "We will ask for help as needed but our team helps each other as much as possible to complete the mission which includes regular rotations to Guam, where Airmen operate and maintain the Joint Threat Emitters."

The JTEs travel wherever necessary to train military personnel from every service in any state and even a few from other countries.

"Our Airmen really get an opportunity to do some very unique things like go on convoys throughout the country and volunteer to be the opposing force for Special Forces missions on the range," said Sapp. "We have more than 130 vehicles and sometimes drive as much as 30,000 miles a month working those range missions."

Many of these extremely remote sites are more than three hours away causing RANS personnel to utilize robust generators to ensure mission success.

"There are more than 50 generators of all sizes and some of them are even mobile," said Tech. Sgt. Keith Hribek, 266th RANS generator maintenance technician. "They are the sole power supply and require some extremely complex maintenance to remain running at full strength while out at the remote sites."

Communication across the vast expanse of range is also a challenge the RANS members are quick to take on.

"Inside our communication center we have monitors across an entire wall with camera shots from all corners of our range," said Sapp. "This enables us to have communication across the range as well as shoot our radar signals in any direction necessary for training purposes.

"There's plenty of sun in the Idaho desert so a few of our Airmen basically recycled spare parts into a solar-powered battery charger," he continued. "This saves everyone money while providing us with a necessary function because these batteries power equipment at our numerous remote sites which in turn, saves us even more money because we don't have to use a generator."

Along with the cost-saving measures RANS personnel have introduced, many Airmen are avid volunteers and in some cases heroes, in the local towns.

"During the long drives across southern Idaho, our Airmen have encountered and assisted with a variety of motorist issues and vehicle accidents," said Groggett. "They provide life-saving first aid and quickly contact emergency response crews in areas that have no cell phone coverage. RANS personnel consistently volunteer to be members of community organizations such as Operation Warmheart, the MHAFB Chiefs group and many other base programs.

"Since the squadron is part of the Idaho Air National Guard, its personnel are members of the local community," he continued. "We are proud to help ensure that